Over the past nearly two decades, along with my current students, post-doctoral fellows, former students, post-doctoral scholars and long term collaborators , I have worked on millisecond pulsars, old neutron stars, young neutron stars, brown dwarfs, soft gamma-ray repeaters, supernova remnants, gamma-ray bursts, new types of optical transients and instrumentation. I love surfing the electromagnetic spectrum, building new gizmos and developing new methodologies. My current focus is the Palomar Transient Factory, an innovative two-telescope approach to a systematic study of the transient sky. Ongoing instrumentation projects: Robo-AO the first robotic AO (Rayleigh scattering) AO system well suited for 2-m class telescopes; the SED Machine which aims to "leave no transient unclassified". The following are in development phase: Zwicky Transient Facility (47 square degrees FOV on the Oschin 1.2m telescope) aimed at an exploration of the transient sky (brighter than 21 mag; first light in 2017)); ULTRASAT, a Weizmann-Caltech project to do the same but in the UV (currently in study phase).
I have a life-long interest in interferometry. For my thesis I built a microwave linked intereferometer between the giant Arecibo reflector and a 30-m dish at Los Canos (10 km NNE) and investigated the physical properties of Galactic cold neutral HI. I spent two decades of my life on the now defunct Space Interferometry Misison. Over time I have drifted from radio astronomy to optical astronomy. I love using telescopes and am familiar with Arecibo Observatory, the Very Large Array, Parkes Observatory, Palomar Observatory and the Keck Observatory.
My publications can be found via ADS or Astroph. A CV and bibliography can be found above. Information to contact me can be found here . I enjoy teaching (not sure if it is reciprocated by the students, though). In 2015 I am teaching a Freshman Seminar on "The Automated Discovery of the Universe" and Interstellar Medium for undergrads. In the past I have taught Ay122 (Techniques & Measurements), Ay 123 (Stars), Ay 125 (High Energy Astronomy), Ay126 (Interstellar Medium), Stars (Ay126) and served as section leader for Ph1A-C.
My MO (modus operandi) is to identify fields before they become interesting and leave the field once it becomes popular. I have a rather strong view that data collection must be driven by a strong desire to deeply understand the physics of the underlying phenomenon. To this end, IMNHO, observers should have deep technical skills in the area of their research AND must have an excellent grasp of basic physics. understand the theoretical framework. Naturally, I make a point to interact with theorists quite extensively.
I hold a McArthur Professorhip in Astronomy & Planetary Science. In 2006 I assumed the Directorship of the Caltech Optical Observatories (which include Palomar, the W. M. Keck Observatory partnership and the Thirty Meter Telescope partnership). In 2007, Cornell University conferred on me the title of Andrew D. White Professor-at-large. Honorary doctorate awarded in 2015 from Radboud University, Nijmegen, NL. Member, American Society of Arts & Sciences; Fellow Royal Society (London); Member, National Academy of Sciences (US); Honorary Fellow, Indian Academy of Sciences.
I was born in the principality of Kurundwad (India) and grew up in Hubli (Karnataka). I was lucky by being able to attending excellent institutions, having inspiring teachers and surrounded by a high quality peer group: Kendriya Vidyalaya (Central School), Hubli; the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (MS) and the University of California, Berkeley (PhD; the guru lineage).
I welcome enquiries from hard working, passionate and independendent minded students and post-docs.